Is Sketchup Make 2016 really freeware?

It depends on the export file format and the exporter extension. Not all file formats have the ability to capture metadata such as the originating app name, and some exporter may not bother to save it. But, as @drdantetv has plainly shown, some do!

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If the license agreement was ever revised to show what acceptable is for non-employee or educational, that would be excellent.


@slbaumgartner - STL Exporter is in the top ten Warehouse downloads, so presumably most would go this route.

it’s a mute point, you can ‘steal’ almost anything if you set your mind to it…

were do you perceive a breach, is she selling it on Thingyverse?
do they insist on the right to sell her model?
is she having it printed or leaving it there for other to ‘print’ without renumeration?

it’s all about income, not posting models on forums or sending to printers…


@john_drivenupthewall Yea, but it’s one thing to knowingly steal and another to not realize you are in breach of license when you think you are compliant. People new to 3D design and printing like the Disney effect of jump in and go, totally cool. But if they can clearly understand what they can and cannot do from the get go, it makes it easier versus down the road when they’ve invested time into learning a package.

But compliance is more than income. The license defines what is not acceptable is as non-commercial use, which includes licensing, renting, or lending the output of SketchUp Make.

SketchUp is a fantastic program for beginners. But that’s no excuse to simply click-and-ignore the license when you don’t have to. Spend your karma on something worth it.

Copyright laws apply whether there’s a formal, written agreement or not to private individuals, companies and corporations. The General Model License isn’t something that could just be applied to SU models uploaded to the Warehouse. That license also is intended to protect the person/company that created the model from being exploited. You could used it as a guide for other models found across the internet whether or not other sites have (yet) bothered to write up some sort of agreement.

It’s one thing to share, it’s another thing to exploit/steal/profit from the creative effort of others without compensation.

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Hence why I’m trying to clarify what actual acceptable use by a person/non-commercial/non-educator would be for compliance. There’s a lot of ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ in the license agreement for Make. I want others to enjoy SketchUp like I do with eyes wide open.


I’ll admit, that sentence reads so poorly that I am loathe to touch it. I’ll say this will need a further discussion internally with those that actually worked on the EULA but I’ll be wearing my curmudgeon hat as I try to get someone to define what ‘lends output’ could possibly mean. Here’s this JPG of my car, please give it back when you’re done.

The intention of the EULA is certainly that you can take it and print it and share it and do whatever you want. As soon as you try to charge for your output then you should be upgrading to Pro.

I’ll check back in on the thread once there is something somewhat enlightening from the legal folks.


The use of the word “lends” is used in a legal sense. It may not not mean what the general populace thinks it means (as we use it in every day life.)

Ie, “lend” is a synonym for “loan”, which usually carries an implication of monetary gain through interest charged.

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AWESOME! Thank you @jody and @DanRathbun!!! If you could ask your legal folks for a section on what one can do with SketchUp Make clearly (as legal will allow), that will make it clearer for new folks to use. It’s not that people want to intentionally steal or abuse the license. But is there some clear freedom for creation like TinkerCAD and others offer that they could do at home? At the very least, I can continue to help others with their designs and to learn how the commands. SketchUp is becoming popular with older students in my area.

As for myself, I realize I’ll need to get budget approval for 6-12 SketchUp Pro licenses for educational workshops and free school lessons. But since the compliance officer got me right after the budget deadline, it will be an uphill battle.

Again, thank you.

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“Lend” could refer to the situation where someone who owns the Pro version, but doesn’t need to use it, allows an acquaintance with a business to install and licence it on their machine. This may also apply to when a company hires someone who owns a legal copy of some software and that new hire allows the company to use his license. These situations do happen.

Some software companies allow licenses to be transferred to other people: Adobe allowed my father to freely transfer his Photoshop license key to me. Other companies forbid that.

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Hmmm… Yea, that’s why I’d love a separate/section agreement for the Make version on it’s own.
The Pro needs the clarifications, which is cool.

But really, this is why most people tl;dr click the setup for SketchUp and run into problems later.
If Joe Average can use Make to create models, upload with no charge to anywhere, and print said models
anywhere without fear of breaking the license and being fully compliant, job done. If not, a non-legal
translation or clarifications with examples would be excellent.


Re. [quote=“drdantetv, post:32, topic:23111”]
Yea, that’s why I’d love a separate/section agreement for the Make version on it’s own.

Hmmm,… if I click the License link in the 2015 PRO “About” dialog, I see this (instead of the above license.)

So I think the letters refer to revisions. (rev. b, rev. c, etc.) The product editions used to have separate license documents (pre-rev. c,) but I think have been combined from revision c, onward.

Someone, must think that there is only one good chance to get the end user to look at the license, so they combined them. Also for v16, the EULA agreement happens at first run of the application, instead of at the start of the installer. (People must have been too in a hurry to read the license during the install.)

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Make is for non-commercial, personal use. How are these terms unclear?

What/who charges? Sound a little odd…

A non-legalese translation of a contract that would be legally binding? Hmm… cute.

Lawyers only write the contract. Judges ultimately oversee and rule on the validity of things like contract terms.

Sounds like people who find themselves running into problems are walking the fine line between doing commercial and non-commercial work. And the ‘problem’ occur when they were informed their work was commercial? What are people doing that get them into trouble with 3D modeling and printing?

This reminds me of when Sonny Bono was elected to Congress. Reportedly that old pop singer stood before the chamber to request the talk to be more casual and friendly (maybe like how he ran Palm Springs as mayor). A fellow congressman reminded him that one of the jobs in Congress was to write and pass laws.

This isn’t to be hard-nosed, as the law helps to protect/oversee/govern the average Joe as well as large corporations.

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Heh, thanks for the memories @catamountain. Things were simpler then.

But while the educational aspect applies to part of my case, it’s what the mass media is saying to end users and new to 3D Printing that is the problem about SketchUp Make when you throw it against the Licensing Agreement. Let me cite a few examples: presents SketchUp Make as:

“Hobbyists, kids, and backyard spaceship builders all agree that SketchUp Make is the easiest, most fun, entirely free 3D drawing tool in the world. We think you will, too.” for example explains it as:

“Drawing-based tool for architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is a free version and SketchUp Pro is a paid version with additional functionality.” presents it as:

“From Trimble Navigation:
Google SketchUp is a free, easy-to-learn 3D-modeling program with a few simple tools to let you create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions, woodworking projects, and even space ships. You can add details, textures, and glass to your models, and design with dimensional accuracy. You can place your finished models in Google Earth, share them with others by posting them to the 3D Warehouse, or print hard copies. Google SketchUp is a great way to discover if 3D modeling is right for you.”

Sketchup (Free basic version, $590 pro version - Mac, Windows) Originally made for architectural design, this software is easy to learn, but it will not provide all the tools that you will find with other software. File robustness can be hit or miss when it comes to 3D Printing.

Google Sketchup is a free surface modeling program with a gentle learning curve. While it does not export to STL’s for 3D printing, users have created some plugins that give it this functionality. Thingiverse user br3ttb has made this process even simpler. After installing his hacked version of an existing plugin, an STL of your work is just a few clicks away!
As a bonus, I’ve been collecting some of my favorite Sketchup plugins. You might find some interesting ones in that list.
I sometimes have trouble getting a watertight STL out of Sketchup. What software do you use to fix meshes?
Thanks for the tip Chris!
For decades, computer-aided design (CAD) applications were expensive tools used only by a limited circle of designers and engineers. Now Google has offered CAD to the masses, with SketchUp, a free program that’s intuitive to use. In this tutorial we’ll be modeling a charging caddy: a box to house a power strip and chargers, with a compartment on top for your cellphone and other handhelds.

I feel we have a responsibility to end users to clarify what the software is and how they are to use it instead of just saying Grab-n-Go especially if they are brand new to 3D design and printing. I know we can do more than that with SketchUp.
But for the most part, just creating simple models is the angle I am coming from. SketchUp Make is a great program for this. I don’t want to see Trimble lose money. Tho this would also be a great opportunity to teach end users how to be compliant.

The license agreement needs to be clearer for this part of the market. Or maybe a slimmed down license option for people who models are less than 100mm x 100mm x 100mm in size?

Thank you.

As an aside, Ultimaker does not mention SketchUp as free:

What is the problem? SU Make (the free version) is intended for non-commercial use, section 2.2.1. It’s been slimmed down to a mere 5 sentences.

What’s so objectionable about the reviews from those other sites you cite other than being written by people with limited modeling experience in SU and understating what can be created? I’ve limited information about other modelers to one line.

What does physical size have to do with anything?

Part of being an adult is that it their responsibility to understand what they are getting into. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Thinking that things need to be dummied down for the free crowd remind me of what happened with Microsoft Bob.


@drdantetv, I don’t see any problem with the wording on those sites…

people freely use SU Make to design and built houses that get made and they live in…

as well as trailers, doghouses, furniture, jewellery and a multitude of 3d printed objects…

the licence allows for this if the users intension, at time of usage, is to never gain renumeration for product derived from their use of SU Make…

SU Make is for making objects, digital or physical, SU Pro is for making money…

it is all about the money, honey…


@john_drivenupthewall not just money - there’s the possibility of barter and trade. For us laypeople, we can refer to it as some sort of compensation that has some sort of monetary value. Or as the lawyer(s) succinctly condensed it “…sell, rent, lease or lend the output of the Software.” That sentence is short and covers lot of territory about different forms of compensation.

The free crowd uploading models get that-a-boy, feel-good, pats-on-the-pack. The joy of sharing with others as payback for the skill and knowledge received from other people who freely shared their knowledge and skill.

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Dante, there are a few flaws in your quotes.

The descriptions from, MakerBot, and are either outdated as they speak of “Google SketchUp”, or are specifically referring to the “free” license that “Google SketchUp Free” (versions 6,7 and 8,) was released under. By the transfer agreement those licenses could not be changed, even though v8 was re-branded at v8M2 as “Trimble SketchUp” and “Trimble SketchUp Pro”.

Beginning with version 2013, the licenses were overhauled, and the “loose” terms of the “Free” license went away, because it was being abused, ie, used by companies for commercial work and profit.

So, 50% of your ammunition is off the mark. Then also, the site (which should not be trusted anyway,) is just parroting old information from the old Google SketchUp webpages.

Just saying…

But yea, I think everyone would like some less legally jargon terms to rely upon.

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@catamountain - I had almost completely forgotten about Microsoft Bob and his love child, Clippy.

But thank you regarding the flaws regarding my references. So does that mean Google SketchUp 8 is perfectly fine to use for basic creation without fear of lending output? I realize it’s rather rickety with popsicle sticks and a prayer should you try to build anything complicated. Or did Trimble take possession of SketchUp 8 as well?

I want to teach and help. But if I can get people to be aware and compliant, bonus points. Most people i bet want free, not to be freeloaders and would pay after trial versions expired if they realized it or had needs for the extra tools. As Make pretty much covers what most hobby/first timers want to build with 3D Printing, most just keep going with it unaware that they are not compliant.